Modeling within-host dynamics of influenza virus infection including immune responses

PLoS Comput Biol. 2012;8(6):e1002588. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002588. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Abstract

Influenza virus infection remains a public health problem worldwide. The mechanisms underlying viral control during an uncomplicated influenza virus infection are not fully understood. Here, we developed a mathematical model including both innate and adaptive immune responses to study the within-host dynamics of equine influenza virus infection in horses. By comparing modeling predictions with both interferon and viral kinetic data, we examined the relative roles of target cell availability, and innate and adaptive immune responses in controlling the virus. Our results show that the rapid and substantial viral decline (about 2 to 4 logs within 1 day) after the peak can be explained by the killing of infected cells mediated by interferon activated cells, such as natural killer cells, during the innate immune response. After the viral load declines to a lower level, the loss of interferon-induced antiviral effect and an increased availability of target cells due to loss of the antiviral state can explain the observed short phase of viral plateau in which the viral level remains unchanged or even experiences a minor second peak in some animals. An adaptive immune response is needed in our model to explain the eventual viral clearance. This study provides a quantitative understanding of the biological factors that can explain the viral and interferon kinetics during a typical influenza virus infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Horse Diseases / immunology
  • Horse Diseases / virology
  • Horses
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N8 Subtype / immunology
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N8 Subtype / pathogenicity
  • Influenza, Human / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / veterinary
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Time Factors
  • Viral Load / immunology